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AIDS ‘an ethical business issue’

December 2000

AIDS has become a serious business risk as well as a humanitarian tragedy, according to the international security consultants Control Risks Group.

In its annual review of threats to business, the firm says companies operating in sub-Saharan Africa should take steps to educate and protect communities in areas where AIDS is rampant.

‘It is no longer acceptable either ethically or commercially for large companies to be passive in the face of AIDS ,’ it says.

Jake Stratton, Control Risks’ head of research, said the epidemic already entailed extra costs in insurance and items such as paying for employees’ funerals. Recruitment costs were also higher and in some areas it was necessary to hire 120 people to have an active staff of 80.

Providing training and healthcare would increase costs but could result in higher productivity and more stable communities, he added.

‘Businesses face the risk of disruption from absenteeism but also the wider risk of instability and crime,’ he added.

Control Risks said AIDS was one of a number of new threats affecting a wider range of firms than have traditionally been concerned with social risk.




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